Your security access to the VanOps team has been confirmed.
Your mission may now begin.
Please contact VanOps HQS if you have trouble accessing encrypted mission instructions.
Welcome to the team. Good luck staying alive!
Avanti Centrae, on behalf of Director Bowman
Even her unsubscribe option reinforced the theme:
If you’ve been captured by the enemy, you can:
stop mission updates here
Her classified marketing secrets needed to be ferreted out.
I disguised myself as a serious journalist and invited Avanti for a TKZ interview. She agreed under the condition that all readers sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Take it away, Avanti!
Debbie Burke: How did you conceive of this clever approach?
Avanti Centrae: When I was brought onto the VanOps team to narrate the team’s extraordinary missions, I was put through a series of extensive background checks. The fingerprinting alone had me smearing ink on surfaces for hours. Stuff wouldn’t wash off! And the lie detector tests…every time my mind wandered, I thought they were going to fry me like a death row inmate. So when I was ready to share the team’s exploits, I thought it fitting that readers get a semblance of the same tribulations I endured.
DB: Are you on other social media platforms besides Twitter?
AC: Yes, this is the only Black Ops organization I know of that encourages publicity. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, too. In my latest novel, THE DOOMSDAY MEDALLION, the teenaged character who gets kidnapped uses TikTok, but it’s not for me.
DB: Which is the most effective platform for you? Why do you think that particular one works well?
AC: All three are effective in their own way. Now that there are three books in the multi-award-winning VanOps series, I’ve been advertising on Facebook, and it’s proving cost effective. Instagram has a nice level of engagement with fans. Twitter works best for this campaign of sending new followers Direct Messages.
DB: Can you rate how effective your campaign has been in terms of email list signups?
AC: I consider it to be well-worth my time. Occasionally someone finds the DM inappropriate, but the vast majority of people appreciate it. Some inquire about audiobook availability, or what retailers have copies. It’s a fun way to chat with fans, too, as many reach back later and tell me how much they enjoyed the ride.
DB: Does marketing come naturally to you?
AC: My background is in IT. Although I don’t have a marketing background, it hasn’t been hard to pick up. Perhaps because I’m motivated. I enjoy writing books, but I also want them to be read. Marketing and Public Relations are two of the best levers authors have to sell books, as a reader can’t read a thriller they don’t know exists.
I treat marketing as a game. Money in, book sales out…try this…try that…keep mixing it up until a combination proves profitable. Making it fun keeps it interesting.
DB: Do you have marketing recommendations for other authors?
AC: The biggest recommendation I have is to avoid spending money on advertising until you have a backlist. Social media doesn’t cost much, and is a great way to connect with fans. Canva is a wonderful tool to spin up posts, or even videos. There’s a really cool trailer at my VanOps.net website that readers can check out. Other advice: take an experimental approach and try different things. You might love producing videos, or find one platform that works better for you and your readers. I’ve heard TikTok is great for YA.
DB: Any final thoughts or insights you’d like to share? If so, will you have to kill us?
AC: Since all your readers have signed the Non-Disclosure Agreement, they’re safe for now. I do have a cadre of assassins at my disposal though…
A few final thoughts then: Keep on writing. This industry is built on the careers of prolific authors. With just one or two novels, it’s easy to get discouraged. Sometimes the best marketing is the next novel. For me, it’s a good thing the VanOps team gets into so much trouble. I have a lot to write about!
Thanks for spilling the beans, Avanti!
TKZers: Use the comment section to grill Avanti with your specific questions. Please respect her Fifth Amendment rights. If she refuses to answer, no water-boarding.